Your Questions Answered: 5 Ways To Start Strong With a New Boss

This week I’m answering a question submitted by a 4word woman in Phoenix, Arizona:

 I just found out that I am being moved to a new department. It’s a good lateral move for me, but I will be working for a different boss. What advice can you give me for establishing a good relationship with my new boss from the get-go? He is someone that I have worked with before, but not as a direct supervisor.

4w_mon_300x300_111113This is a terrific question! It’s so important to try to start off well with a new boss, and you’re fortunate that you’ve had the opportunity to work with this person before. Here’s what I advise:

1.Understand your boss’s critical success factors. By that I mean you need to figure out how your boss’s success will be measured, and think critically about what role you will play. Focus your efforts on producing results that will assist your boss in achieving success.

2. Reassess your goals and objectives – Meet with your boss soon and go through your goals and objectives. Understand if there are any adjustments you should make to align your previous goals and objectives going forward.

3. Establish expectations for communication. Identify how your boss wants to communicate with you. Do they want daily, weekly, or monthly status reports? Should they be in e-mail form or a face to face meeting or over a phone call? How should you handle unexpected situations that your boss would like to be apprised of before you move forward? By establishing these standards up front, you can avoid miscommunications later.

4. Take some time to get to know them as a person. This is a good practice when it comes to all of your coworkers, really. Understand their priorities in life, their strengths and weaknesses, and their interests outside of work. This will help you to understand where people are coming from at work, and it’s also part of representing Christ well in the workplace.

5. Help your new boss know you – Share your priorities in life, strengths and weaknesses, how you are best communicated with, etc. Share upfront any boundaries that you need to share do you need to leave by 5 pm everyday to pick up your son? Do you have boundaries around travel? If you have recently taken part in a personality or work style assessment like a 360 Review, Strengths Finder, or Myers & Briggs test, it may be appropriate to share the results with your boss (see Chapter 9 of Work, Love, Pray, for more on discovering your professional strengths and styles). I just took a test that uncovers my natural operating and communications styles as part of my mentoring work with the CREW Bridging the C-Suite Gap program. I plan to share the results with some the people I work most closely with at 4word.

It may take some time and effort to build a strong working relationship with your new boss, but the effort is well worth it. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up to do your best possible work in your new position, and, as we like to say at 4word, to reach your God-given potential.


What would you do to get off to a good start with a new boss?

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